January 22nd, 2021

Business Beat: Developing action plans

By Elizabeth Blair on November 6, 2019.

The Business Retention and Expansion and Workforce Development survey, referred to as “BREWD” has now been completed.

Nearly 500 regional businesses, 476 to be exact, have shared their input and the data is showing us some very interesting information. Responses came in from businesses in Medicine Hat, Redcliff, Bow Island, Cypress County and County of Forty Mile.

The survey was conducted to identify the needs and priorities of local businesses.

So what are the next steps, now that we have collected all of this data?

The BREWD Leadership Team will enter into the next critical phase of engaging local and regional experts in analyzing the survey data to determine what business issues need to be addressed and identify these as priority projects. Once the projects are identified, priority project teams will be assembled to begin planning and ensue action.

What are some interesting pieces of information we have discovered so far?

Businesses are concerned with the overall economic climate, but are confident about the future. Results show 59% anticipate that in the next two years their product/service sales will increase, and 30% plan to expand. Also, 34% of businesses surveyed ranked Medicine Hat and region as an Above Average or Excellent place to conduct business. Only 12% said below average or Poor. Most are satisfied with the community as a place to do business, but the survey provides a wide variety of suggestions on how to improve the overall business climate. Frequent themes included promoting the region’s businesses, infrastructure investment, labour attraction and retention initiatives, reducing red tape and planning for technological change.

The number of businesses anticipating that the number of employees in their organization would increase over the next 12 months was 28%, highlighting a need to focus on the importance of attracting labour to the region.

There will be an influx of re-investment into businesses over the next three years with almost 75% of businesses anticipating new purchases to improve their processes.

The future is looking bright for business in the region with over 45% of businesses looking to either expand or modernize in the near future.

Full reports on the survey data will be published upon completion. For these reports and more information on Invest Southeast Alberta and the BREWD project, please visit InvestSoutheastAlberta.ca

Elizabeth Blair is the regional innovation network coordinator for APEX Alberta. APEX Alberta supports the growth of innovative and technologically-oriented businesses in Southeast Alberta. APEX Alberta is a collaborative initiative between three core service providers: Community Futures Entre-Corp, Medicine Hat College and Alberta Innovates.

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